Friday, June 11, 2010
Remembering God's Road For You
Nehemiah 9 -Israel now sits in sack clothe and ashes. They have had a time of rejoice, but now they are confronted with their sin compared to their holy God. Chapter 9, is basically their prayer of humility asking God to forgive the sin of their nation. In the prayer you will find Israel's disappointment of who they are as a nation and their confidence in who God is. Read Nehemiah 9:1-37. Warren Wiersbe outlines this passage like this:
1. The Greatness of God (9:1-6)
2. The Goodness of God (9:7-30)
3. The Grace of God (9:31-37)
1. I believe as we pray to God, we should always begin with praising God for his greatness. Evangelist Steve Pettit wrote a book How To Pray 30 Minutes A Day. It was the first time anyone had taught me how to pray "Biblically". In the Book he list scores of attributes and names of God that helped me so much focus on God's greatness. He encourages people to spend 10 minutes of prayer daily praising God for his greatness or who God is. Try it. Take 10 minutes and tell God what you think about his greatness, power, knowledge, faithfulness, love, kindness, mercy, grace, providing power, power over death, hell, nature, sending Christ to die for us, redemption, atonement, etc.
2. In the 2nd part of our outline, we see the Goodness of God in verse 7-30. It is simply a brief history of how God worked in the nation of Israel to bring them to where they were today. As you read it you will have a simultaneous feeling of "how could they disobey God after all He did for them" and "I guess I understand because I do the same thing in my own life." Yet God still loves both us and Isreal. I think it would be a neat exercise to write a brief history of how God worked to bring you where you are today. Mine would go something like this: God thank you for Vic Logan, a WW2 veteran, who used his jeep to pick up my dad and bring him to church. It was there that you saved him and he began to grow as a Christian. Thank you for bringing my mom to Sullivan, Missouri, where people from the bus ministry at First Baptist Church were faithful to bring her to church as a teenager. Thank you for allowing them to go to the same high school and marrying each other. I praise you for calling my dad to be a preacher, for leading him to Bible College in Lakeland, Florida. From there you led us to many places like tampa, florida; jacksonville, florida; sullivan, missouri; brandon, florida; oxford, florida; and ocala, florida. There were many move in my younger years. Some perhaps were moves ahead of your plan, yet your cloud still led the way by day, and your pillar of fire by night. In 3 different states your presence was with my family as they served you in full-time ministry. Each move led to another that eventually is the reason I am the assistant pastor at Central Baptist Church today. While we know that many people played a part in this, God was working his good plan the entire time. Take some time to write out your testimony of how God brought you to where you are in your life today.
3. The 3rd section we simply apply to our own life and see that we have failed so many times, yet God is still there to forgive us and help us start over. Here the leaders of Isreal set out again to follow God. Verse 37 - And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it. If today, you find yourself away from God, proclaim his greatness, goodness, and grace. Admit your sin and commit to following him. That is what Israel did when they "Made a sure covenant or promise" to God, wrote it down, and the leaders sealed it.